Here is the week 2 edition of the 2013 Heismanpundit Heisman Watch. After taking into account the games played so far, these are the players who have the best chance of actually winning the Heisman. This is not a prediction of the final order of the race.
1. Braxton Miller, Jr., QB, Ohio State – Miller threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 77 in Ohio State’s 40-20 win over Buffalo. He showed some signs of gimpiness at one point, which may cause Urban Meyer to use him cautiously in the next few weeks. For now, he remains the Heisman front runner until he screws up or his numbers fall behind a Heisman-worthy pace…or some other contender overtakes him.
Last Game: 15/22, 178 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Ints, 17 carries, 77 rush yds, 0 TDs in a 40-20 win over Buffalo
Season Stats: 15/22, 178 yds, 68.2%, 2 TDs, 1 Ints, 157. 05 rating, 17 carries, 77 rush yds, 0 TDs
Next Opponent: San Diego State
2. Marcus Mariota, So., QB, Oregon – Mariota was one of two players to pass for over 200 yards and rush for 100 this past weekend (the other being C.J. Brown of Maryland). He threw for 234 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 113 yards and two scores as Oregon throttled FCS Nicholls State. The opponent was weak, but that will be forgotten weeks from now and the numbers will be absorbed into his season totals. He’ll face a somewhat stiffer test this Saturday as the Ducks take on Virginia on the road. It’ll be a good opportunity to showcase his talents in front of mid-Atlantic region Heisman voters.
Last Game: 12/21, 234 yards, 1 TDs, 0 Ints, 5 carries, 113 yards, 2 TDs in a 66-3 win over Nicholls State
Season Stats: 12/21, 234 yards, 57.1%, 1 TDs, 0 Ints, 166.45 rating, 5 carries, 113 yards, 2 TDs
Next Opponent: At Virginia
3. Tajh Boyd, Sr., QB, Clemson – Boyd helped himself more than any other candidate in the race this past weekend by leading Clemson to an exciting 38-35 win over then-No.-5 Georgia in front of a national television audience. He was 18 of 30 for 270 yards and three touchdowns and he also added 42 yards and two scores on the ground. The schedule actually sets up quite nicely for Boyd with one major opponent to open the season (already vanquished), one in the middle (Florida State) and one to close it out (South Carolina). In between, he’ll be expected to put up big numbers while helping his team guard against a letdown. For now, Boyd is in the upper echelon of candidates thanks to his performance against the Bulldogs.
Last Game: 18/30, 270 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 13 carries, 42 yards, 2 TDs in a 38-35 win over No. 5 Georgia
Season Stats: 18/30, 270 yards, 60%, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 168.60 rating, 13 carries, 42 yards, 2 TDs
Next Opponent: South Carolina State
4. Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., QB, Louisville – The last time we saw Bridgewater before this past weekend, he was leading Louisville to an upset of Florida in the Sugar Bowl. While his opponent on Sunday wasn’t as respected as the Gators, the junior did benefit from playing in one of two games featured that afternoon, which meant he had the time slot to himself and a chance to remind everyone why he’s so highly regarded by NFL types. He went 23 of 28 for 355 yards and five touchdowns (with one pick) in UL’s 49-7 rout of the Bobcats. With such a weak schedule coming up, it may be the last time we see him for a while. He’ll need to keep up this torrid pace for the next month in order to stay relevant in the race.
Last Game: 23/28, 355 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Ints in a 49-7 win over Ohio
Season Stats: 23/28, 355 yards, 82.1%, 5 TDs, 1 Ints, 240.43 rating
Next Opponent: Eastern Kentucky
5. Kevin Hogan, So., QB, Stanford – Hogan came on strong the last half of his freshman season to lead the Cardinal to their first Rose Bowl win since 1972. Stanford is now a prime contender for the national title and Hogan’s numbers should explode as a sophomore. The schedule is backloaded and allows for a late-season surge, with high-profile games against Oregon, USC and Notre Dame, plus a potential berth in the Pac-12 title game. Hogan is a first-round talent who carries the mantle of the ‘next great Stanford quarterback’ on his shoulders. It’s a mystique that tends to play well with Heisman voters.
Last Game: Did not play
Season Stats: N/A
Next Opponent: San Jose State
6. Todd Gurley, So., RB, Georgia – Gurley was arguably the best player in the game against Clemson, rushing for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, including an electrifying 75-yard scoring run. It’s clear he has separated himself from teammate Keith Marshall and will likely get the bulk of the carries going forward (though Marshall did carry the ball more against Clemson). The good thing about being a running back is that losses do not get pinned on you the same way they do a quarterback (no one notes Gurley’s record against ranked teams, for instance). As long as Georgia remains in the top 10 and Gurley produces at this pace, he’ll be seen as the top running back candidate in this race.
Last Game: 12 carries, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 1 reception for 1 yard in a 38-35 loss to No. 8 Clemson.
Season Stats: 12 carries, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rec, 1 yd
Next Game: South Carolina
7. AJ McCarron, Sr., QB, Alabama – McCarron doesn’t have to have crazy numbers to be a serious Heisman candidate, but he does need to approach his production from last season to have a realistic shot. Games like the one he had against Virginia Tech do not help in that regard. He was 10 of 22 for 110 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 35-10 win over the Hokies. Because he is not necessarily the focus of the Alabama offense, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to make up for such a lackluster performance. With so much talent around him, he should be able to get into a groove at some point, but if he plays like this against Texas A&M, he’ll be out of the race. Obviously, a big game against the Aggies will get his candidacy back on track.
Last Game: 10/22, 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 Ints
Season Stats: 10/22, 110 yards, 43.5%, 1 TD, 1 Ints, 89.31 rating
Next Game: at Texas A&M (Sept. 14)
8. Aaron Murray, Sr., QB, Georgia – Murray’s career record against ranked teams dropped to 3-12 as the Bulldogs fell to Clemson, 38-35. Murray acquitted himself well for the most part against the Tigers, putting up 323 yards on 20 of 29 passing, but he didn’t throw a touchdown and had two turnovers, including a pick. The good news for Murray is that he can quickly redeem himself, first by playing well in a win over South Carolina on Saturday and then doing the same two games later against LSU. If he has good production and helps Georgia find a way back to the SEC title game, he’ll remain a legitimate contender. For now, his campaign is in critical condition.
Last Game: 20/29, 323 yards, 0 TD, 1 Ints
Season Stats: 20/29, 323 yards, 69%, 0 TD, 1 Ints, 155.63 rating
Next Game: South Carolina
9. Brett Hundley, So., QB, UCLA – Hundley got off to a nice start in UCLA’s 58-20 rout of Nevada, throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 63 with two more scores. It looks like the Bruin offense is a bit of a juggernaut and Hundley is sure to put up stellar numbers directing it. He’ll need a marquee win to make a move and the matchup at Nebraska on Sept. 14 should fit the bill. UCLA has a decent chance to be 5-0 before taking on Stanford and Oregon in October. I believe that upsetting one of those two teams while playing well in a close loss to the other would give him the street cred to be a major player in this race. Beating both would put him at the top.
Last Game: 22/33, 274 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 7 carries, 63 yards, 2 TDs
Season Stats: 22/33, 274 yards, 66.7%, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 156.42 rating, 7 carries, 63 yards, 2 TDs
Next Game: At Nebraska on Sept. 14
10. Taylor Martinez, Sr., QB, Nebraska – Martinez had a solid game in a closer-than-expected 37-34 win over Wyoming. He was 17 of 22 for 155 yards and three scores (with one interception) through the air and he also added 80 yards on the ground. He’s fast approaching a slew of Nebraska quarterback records. He’ll need to pick up the pace a bit in the coming weeks and play well in a win over UCLA to push his way into the conversation, but he’s got the talent to do it.
Last Game: 17/22, 155 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Ints, 16 carries, 80 yards
Season Stats: 17/22, 155 yards, 77.3%, 3 TDs, 1 Ints, 172.36 rating, 16 carries, 80 yards
Next Game: Southern Mississippi
Others to watch: De’Anthony Thomas, Jr., RB, Oregon; Duke Johnson, So., RB, Miami; Bryce Petty, Jr., QB, Baylor; Lache Seastrunk, Jr., RB, Baylor; Jameis Winston, Fr., QB, Florida State